A FOOD alert has been issued this week by the European Union in Spain warning that a shipment of olives exported from Morocco contain high levels of a pesticide that has not been authorised in the 27-country bloc. The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) is also warning of levels of the chemical above the permitted proportions.

According to the communication released by the RASFF, and reported by newspaper 20minutos, a border check was carried out on the olives that were being imported into Spain from the North African country on August 18.

The pesticide that was detected was chlorpyrifos, and the risk level was set at serious by the European authorities. 

So far there is no information to suggest that the contaminated olives have had an adverse effect on consumers or of any symptoms. There is also no information so far on the characteristics of the olives or the brand, 20minutos reported. 

But according to Pesticide Action Network, which works to ‘end reliance on hazardous pesticides’, chlorpyrifos is known for its damaging effects on the human nervous system. 

Its risks are particularly high for children, as it can affect their neurological development.

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